Newberry National Volcanic Monument
|About 7,000 years ago, a dozen or so lava flows and cinder cones erupted from fissures on the flanks of Newberry Volcano. An excellent example is Lava Butte, a 500-foot-high cinder cone south of Bend along Highway 97. A road spirals to the top providing a grand vista of volcanic country. Here, gas-charged molten rock sprayed volcanic foam (cinders) into the air. These fell back into a pile to form Lava Butte. As the eruption proceded, the amount of gas (mostly water vapor) contained in the molten rock decreased and lava poured out the south side of Lava Butte and flowed 6 miles downhill. The lava spilled into the nearby Deschutes River forming lava dams in some places and shoving the river westward out of its channel into others changing the course of the river.|
Newberry volcano is a broad shield volcano located in central Oregon. It has been built by thousands of eruptions, beginning about 600,000 years ago. At least 25 vents on the flanks and summit have been active during several eruptive episodes of the past 10,000 years. The most recent eruption 1,300 years ago produced the Big Obsidian Flow. Thus, the volcano's long history along with recent activity indicate that Newberry will erupt sometime in the future.
The awesome lava lands of Oregon were the training and testing grounds for the astronauts and their equipment in 1964 and 1966. Training and experience gained on these lava fields developed skills for the lunar explorers to make their first walk over the fact of the moon.
|On the right is the cinder dome, which dominates the landscape|
Some green means it's alive. Sort of.
|On the left is Mount Bachelor as a back drop for Lava Lands and the trail path. Right is an opening in a lava tube.|
Great floods of lava gushed out of the breach on the south side of Lava Butte. During the final stages of the eruption, only a trickle of lava flowed down a small channel. A surface tube was formed when the lava ccooled and crusted over. The interior remained molten, allowing lava to surge and spurt through many times. Over time the tube has collapsed in places where the roof was thin.
|Left is dead wood with Tumalo Mountain and South Sister in the background. Right is the trail with the cinder dome in the background.|
Lunar landing training ground
Huge lava boulder
|The photo on the left is a part of the trail. On the right shows a part of a collapsed lava tube|
Lava killed tree
Lava gutter (see below)
Another section of a collapsed lava tube
Cinder dome again
|As molten lava poured out of the breach at the base of Lava Butte, it formed definite channels. When the lava quit flowing, if left gutters like the one in the right photo. The jumbled rock and lava balls along the bank of the gutter indicate the depth of the lava flows.|
With each emormous pulse of spurting lava the gutters would fill and overflow. Each overflow added a new layer to the sides of the gutters increasing their height. These layers can be seen in the right photo.
Three main gutters carried lave flows which buried ten square miles of pine forests and blocked the Deschutes River at five places. Lava levees gradually dammed two of the gutters as the volume of lava decreased. The trail I was walking followed the path of one of these gutters.
|A huge lava formation on left and a photo showing the trail. Cheating on the trail would probably result in a broken ankle.|
|Looking down a gutter|
|This is as close as I got to the cinder dome. There is a road up to the top, but recreational vehicles are prohibited from using it. (I guess they didn't see some of the roads I've driven) Lava Lands was a surprise to me and I had not intended to visit it. However, when I see a sign that may be of interest, I usually take a detour. I arrived late in the afternoon and stayed until closing of the park. The rain you can see in some of the distant shots arrived as I got into Arvie.|